Like many of you, I’ve always had a certain fascination with scoreboards. So I was pretty jazzed when Reader Cory Gibson-Bath recent tipped me wise to a new site devoted to illustrations of NHL scoreboards, past and present. I wanted to know more, so I got in touch with the site’s creator, CanuckFanatic92 (he prefers not to give out his real name). Here’s the transcript of an email interview I conducted with him:
Uni Watch: How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
CanuckFanatic92: I’m 21 and I live on Vancouver Island, which is in British Columbia, and I am trying to search for a job.
UW: Have you always been interested in scoreboards?
CF92: Yes, ever since I saw the old scoreboard at Pacific Coliseum during highlights of the 1994 Stanley Cup on TV many years ago. It just intrigued me how the technology has come such a long way since that time.
UW: How did you get the idea of creating a website devoted to scoreboard imagery?
CF92: A friend convinced me to create the site after I showed him some of my renderings of scoreboards. He was like, “You gotta put these on a website!” And I was like, “Yeah, you’re right, they’re no use to anybody if they rot on my hard drive.”
UW: I know you’ve contributed to the Frozen Faceoff site. Was that site an inspiration for your site?
CF92: Frozen Faceoff has inspired me to get the work out there, but I’ve been quietly making these textures since approximately 2008. I haven’t shown them publicly until last month, however.
The original plan for these was to get them “modded” into the NHL series made by EA. Unfortunately, due to the way the 3-D model files were made, one could only modify the existing shape of the model, not add onto it.
UW: Your site only shows hockey scoreboards. Do you care about other sports, and do you plan to show their scoreboards on your site at some point down the road?
CF92: At some point there is going to be that person who will request scoreboards from MLB or the NBA, and I realize I’ll have to direct my attention to these scoreboards in the future. In short, I am open to the idea. Lately, I’ve also been thinking of putting up team banners, like retired numbers and championships.
UW: Do you have any specific goals for the site? Like, do you want to document every single NHL scoreboard ever, or something along those lines?
CF92: To be honest, documenting every single NHL scoreboard was one of my goals, but photographs of the old analog clocks are pretty hard to come by. So that goal has, so far, been an uphill battle.
UW: What do you base your illustrations on? Like, do you have a lot of old scoreboard photos, or what?
CF92: I base my illustrations on the best shot I can find of the target scoreboard. Usually the best angle is a head-on shot of it. My photograph cache probably has around 300 photos, and dozens of screencaps from videos.
Another factor I have to take into account is scale. I go mad if I don’t have the scale exactly right, especially with the new scoreboards, which sometimes don’t have their dimensions listed.
UW: What software do you use to create the illustrations, and how long does a typical illustration take to create?
CF92: Photoshop, obviously. Without it I’d be stuck using MS Paint. An “average” scoreboard can take up to a week. My personal best on a single illustration is two hours and 15 minutes.
Recently, for the dot-matrix display illustrations, I’ve been using Paint Shop Pro 3 (a program from 1993!) to enlarge the designs to fit onto the scoreboard texture, and it enlarges them in a way the image doesn’t lose its “blockiness.”
UW: Has this project taught you anything about scoreboards that you didn’t already know?
CF92: It’s taught me how the design of scoreboards went from supplementing the game experience to being eye candy in the blink of an eye. Scoreboards have gotten noticeably uglier as the years have gone by. They went from four-sided technological marvels to gargantuan, oversized television screens within a decade.
UW: Any other things you’re particularly interested in besides scoreboards? Any other websites besides this one?
CF92: I’m also interested in hockey uniforms, and especially the NHL ice surfaces like what Frozen Faceoff does. Also, I’m a lover of old fire trucks.
UW: Anything to add?
CF92: I know the “Clapping Hands” (like the one from Maple Leaf Gardens) will end up in my request jar at some point. I’ll get it drawn up and animated someday!
Accursed color reminder: Tomorrow is Purple Amnesty Day — the one day of the year when you can order a purple-inclusive Uni Watch membership card. The 24-hour window will run from midnight to midnight (Eastern time). I’m bracing for the onslaught. Do your worst!
Uni Watch News Ticker: Interesting article on how athletic shoes can increase the risk of injury. … There’s a debate going on, or at least a discussion, regarding whether any ’Skins player should ever wear Sean Taylor’s number (from Tommy the CPA). … Check out Lou Holtz’s hat, circa 1988. When did that lower-right serif disappear from the logo? (From Jerry Kulig.) … New kit for Norwich City (from Justin Hale). … Now that Cooperstown High School has changed the name of its teams from Redskins to Hawkeyes, the Oneida Nation has donated $10,000 to help cover the cost of new uniforms (from Stephen King). … Flag-desecration uniforms for Wichita State baseball, to support the Wounded Warrior Project (thanks, Phil). … New away kit for Stoke City (from George Chilvers). … Shame on the state legislature of South Carolina, which will now allow ads on school buses (from William Lyon). … Check this out: a model of Yankee Stadium made from 75,000 matchsticks (thanks, Brinke). … Gaelic football will soon start using electronic Hawk-Eye technology to help judge scoring plays. “Seems like this could be a perfect fit for MLB and the NFL as well,” says Micahel Clary. … “I was in the Toledo Mud Hens Swamp Shop the other day and they had these nifty uniform guides on the wall,” says Jacob Kubuske. “For some reason there wasn’t one for the road unis.” Too bad about the pants. … The Chiefs’ practice jerseys have an ad patch for the University of Kansas Hospital, and Ryan Stone isn’t happy about it: “The Chiefs are a Missouri team playing in a stadium funded in part by Missouri taxes. There is a deep rivalry between Missouri and the leech state to our west. Why would this franchise choose to polarize a majority of its fan base with these ridiculous patches?”
Battle of the Uniforms: Voting for Round Three will remain open until 9am Eastern today. The fourth round — essentially the two league championship series — will be up and running by noon-ish.